Zebra approximate running time: 1 hour 45 minutes


Zebra was Best Boys' first full-length production and was staged at The Poor Alex Theatre. After an initial staged reading, we were awarded the largest Research and Development Grant ever given by The Theatre Centre. The script went on to win the 1992 Right to Privacy Award from Toronto's Lesbian and Gay Community Appeal, and the production itself was nominated for a Pink Trillium Award for Outstanding Achievement in Gay Theatre in 1993.

Zebra is a fictional account of the June 1985 gay-bashing murder of Toronto librarian, Kenneth Zeller. The trial caused a furor at the time because four of the five accused were considered upstanding young men with no previous record of violence. All five were later convicted, but none served his full sentence. 

Public reception to Zebra was particularly stong, and it became our most popular success, with some people telling us they came to see it as many as three times. Initially slated for a two-week run in the fall, we were offered the theatre for an extra week at cost by its owner, who said it was the best work he'd seen there in years. 

The title comes from a speech given by young Kenneth at the outset. He comments on the dualistic appearance of his favourite animal, the peaceful zebra, which can be seen as either black or white -- a metaphor for invisible minority status. In contrast, the zebra's natural predator, the leopard, is a metaphor for the brutal side of human nature which can lurk beneath the surface of anyone.

Excerpt from Zebra

 
 

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